The Secret

The clue to the spectator's mentally selected word is the first letter the performer apparently misses. If you examine the special 23 word paragraph printed under the heading, "Where are all the gaffs?" you'll note that the first letter of each word is every other letter in the alphabet, beginning with "A" (Apparently) through "W" ("witnesses"). Since the letters X-Y-Z are not involved, the next word reverts back to "B" (Blindly) through "V" (victims). In your mind, simply say the letter the spectator has revealed, loud, the next letter softly and the next letter loud, sort of like an abbreviated Si Stebbins set-up.

When you hear the first letter of the spectator's word, for example, "I" you immediately know the next word in the paragraph begins with the letter "K" (I-J-K). After the apparent failure, have the spectator move on to the next word. A quick glance at the accompanying "prompter," which is listed alphabetically, will disclose that the word beginning with "K" is "kickbacks."

Finish by revealing the word the spectator is concentrating on. As shown earlier, to enable you to have the book casually examined, the gimmicked paragraph has been arranged into four cyclical versions so the spectator sees nine numbered pages before a repeat of the gaffed paragraph appears.

To help you remember the connecting letters, simply remember the mnemonic phrase, "Veterans Always Win Battles." In other words, V always precedes A and W always precedes B. The letters X-Y-Z are not used.

The commercial version includes several different prompter cards from which you can choose the most comfortable for your use. My favorite is one which you can glue to the back of a bookmark, covered with clear laminating film. Now you can have the page selected using the bookmark. Ask the spectator to insert it between any two pages. Be sure to hand it to him with the prompter side facing away from him. At a distance of a few feet, no one will have any idea what the printing actually says. Leave about two inches of the bookmark protruding above the book and move it to the left, pushing it deeply into the gutter of the book .

During your performance, obtain the prompter from your left hand jacket pocket, finger palming it in the process. Hold the book (and palmed prompter) with your left hand. Riffle the pages with your right hand as previously detailed. After the successful completion of the "First word riffle selection," proceed with the "Pointer Phenomena." As soon as you know the first letter of the word the spectator was thinking of, for example, "I", consult the alphabetically listed words on the palmed prompter, skip a letter and locate the word that begins with "K." That's all there is to it. Dispose of the prompter when you toss the book back in your case.

Open the book at that point, wide enough for the spectator to glimpse the first word on the page. As soon as you've revealed the spectator's word, push the right four fingers deeper between the two pages and begin to open the book between both hands. Simultaneously, with the left hand, remove the bookmark. Hold it between the left thumb and first finger as the remaining left fingers grasp the book and open it wider to permit the spectator to point at any word in the next paragraph. Be sure to use the word, "next" when you tell the spectator what to do.

The bookmark with the prompter list facing you is held behind the book where it's clearly visible. When you've completed the effect, push the bookmark between the pages of the closed book, hiding it from view. Toss the book in your case and you're clean. This is my preferred method, but any method that you're comfortable with can be used.

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